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October 6th, 2021

Importance of Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing


In a world that is rapidly digitizing, cybersecurity is now a major focus for Chief Experience Officers. Cybercriminals are continually targeting financial services and insurance (BFSI) companies that handle sensitive financial information and the personal data of employees and customers. Forbes reports that cybercriminals target financial institutions four times more often than other industries in 2015. Forbes’ 2015 analysis found this. The same survey revealed that financial institutions were subject to 300 times more cyberattacks than other industries in 2019.

Cyber-attacks are a big threat to banks and financial institutions. These organizations need to be prepared for cyber-attacks. As such, it is important to conduct periodic, thorough Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testing (VAPT).

What is Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing?

Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing are two types of vulnerability testing. Each test is unique and each one has its own strengths. However, they can often be combined to give a more complete vulnerability analysis. Vulnerability Assessments, as well as Penetration Testing, can both be done in the same area.

Vulnerability assessment tools are able to detect vulnerabilities but they can hardly differentiate between flaws that can cause harm and those that cannot. Vulnerability scanners notify companies about any pre-existing vulnerabilities in their code and the location. As such, Penetration tests are used to detect and exploit weaknesses in systems in order to determine whether unauthorized access to the system is possible, or any other malicious activity.

Why is this form of testing important for BFSI organizations?

BFSI agencies handle sensitive financial data of individuals and governments as well as public and private companies. These data include bank account numbers and credit card numbers as well as addresses and national identification numbers. These institutions could suffer financial and regulatory penalties as well as reputational damage. These organizations have made significant investments in cybersecurity infrastructure to protect their applications and data from cyber threats.

Digitization was a major trend in the BFSI sector even before COVID. In the BFSI sector landscape, there have been digital-only financial institutions that are independent of existing firms. These organizations are more susceptible to cyberattacks because of their digital presence. Financial institutions are now more vulnerable than ever thanks to the multitude of access options available, including wireless and mobile technologies. Banks have secondary exposures to credit/payments card information that is not only stored internally but also handled remotely by other organizations, such as hospitality and retail. These exposures make VAPT essential for the survival of BFSI companies. 

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What are the various threats financial service organizations face today?

These are the different threats that financial service organizations are currently facing:

Unencrypted Data: Encryption is the best way to secure data storage. However, sensitive information is not encrypted in a consistent manner across organizations. Data in test environments can be exposed to internal malicious threats. 

Ransomware and malware attacks: Ransomware and malware attacks have been reported on several banks and IT service providers that work with them. Many of these vulnerabilities are caused by internal employees who have connected to infected machines or gave user credentials in phishing attacks. Forbes estimates that ransomware is responsible for approximately $75 billion in annual damage to different organizations. 

Cloud providers: Cyberattacks have made cloud providers a target of many BFSI organizations that use cloud providers to store and run their applications and storage. An attack called “Cloud Hopper” was recently reported by the Wall Street Journal. It involved several cloud providers. 

Services and vendors from unsecured third parties: The security practices of third-party service firms who work on these systems can be a source of vulnerability in a world that has become increasingly dependent on outsourcing technology and business process services. Multiple third-party software packages are used by financial institutions in their application landscape. Financial institutions could also be vulnerable to third-party software that has not been adequately tested. 

Spoofing and Phishing: This trick allows hackers to create duplicate banking websites that trick customers into giving their credentials. These credentials are then used by hackers to steal user accounts.

Internet of Things (IoT): Cyber-attacks are now focusing on hardware as the most vulnerable area. Attacks can be made on devices such as routers, printers, cameras, and other home-based devices.

We at TFT offer a range of offshore testing services that ensures your software or website is ready to go live on a million devices without any glitch or error. At TFT, our main focus lies in the functionality, quality of the product and in improving the quality of the product. We have an excellent team of QA testers that employs all our resources to catch bugs and provide new enhancements.

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